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How to Become a School Counselor in Texas

School counselors might not be the first people that come to mind when we think of school workers, but their role in schools is just as important as a teacher or principal. Counselors take on many responsibilities regarding student support and assisting students with challenges inside and outside the classroom.

Effective school counselors help students on several fronts, from academics to social-emotional development to career support. For example, counselors help students navigate social pressure or bullying, guide them through difficult classes, offer support during difficult times at home and many other situations. They also help to address important developmental gaps that other school personnel might not have the time or resources to handle.

Given the diversity of their responsibilities, counselors must possess versatile skills. Texas A&M International University’s Master of Science (M.S.) in School Counseling online program equips graduates with the counseling skills to address student needs and support students’ academic, emotional and mental needs.

What Skills Are Necessary to Be a School Counselor?

Aspiring school counselors should possess job-related competencies and people skills, as this article notes.

People skills, often referred to as “soft skills,” are the cornerstone of most school counselors’ work. Interpersonal relationships permeate almost every facet of counselors’ responsibilities. Counselors must be quality communicators, good listeners, thoughtful speakers and have solid writing skills. Counselors often act as the point of contact for parents, so the ability to communicate with different communities is also essential.

These communication skills also apply to collaborations in the school, another crucial part of a counselor’s role. Given their knowledge of students’ academic and personal lives, counselors often work with teachers and administrators to create programs or support systems for students that address their learning needs on a more holistic level.

Perhaps most of all, counselors need to be compassionate and empathetic. They often provide support in difficult situations, so the ability to intervene with sensitivity and care is paramount.

A solid understanding of math and data is also helpful for school counselors. They should be able to gather and track data over time to identify potential problem areas and create programs to help counteract negative trends. Data collection and analysis are also crucial for supporting counselors’ work. Having the data to support their observations and experiences helps illustrate and explain what could otherwise be dismissed as anecdotal evidence.

These skills are critical to helping school counselors fulfill their responsibilities and support student needs, from individual planning to curriculum guidance and beyond.

What Other Certifications and Qualifications Do Counselors Need?

To earn a school counselor certificate in Texas, students must fulfill a few requirements. According to the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), requirements to become a school counselor in Texas include completing an approved educator preparation program, passing the school counselor certification exam, earning a master’s degree of at least 48 hours in counseling from an accredited institution and having at least two creditable years of classroom teaching experience. Candidates are also required to pass a national fingerprint-based background check.

You can see the other school counselor requirements by state via the American School Counselor Association.

The online M.S. in School Counseling program from Texas A&M International University equips graduates with the necessary skills and knowledge to fulfill certification requirements and excel as a school counselor in any educational environment. Students who complete the program will be able to use culturally appropriate practices and apply theory and intervention techniques to suit the unique needs of their school community. They will also develop a deep understanding of best practices for designing and implementing various counseling programs, among other approaches and theories.

Learn more about Texas A&M International University’s online M.S. in School Counseling program.

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